April 15th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: I'm no elitist

 Obama laughed off charges he is an elitist.

Obama laughed off charges he is an elitist.

WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama said Tuesday he was "amused" by accusations he is an "elitist" in the wake of the 'bitter-gate' controversy.

"It is true I am amused about this notion of elitist," Obama said, citing the fact that he was raised by a single mother, lived off food stamps, earned scholarships, and had to finance his own law school education.

"[Michelle and I] lived for the first 13 years of marriage up until three years ago, in a three bedroom condo without a garage," the White House hopeful said. "So if you live in Chicago, that means you are scraping ice every morning."

Hillary Clinton has called Obama "elitist" and "out of touch" for remarks he made at a fundraiser where he referred to some Pennsylvanians as "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion."

During a veterans town hall near Pittsburgh, one man said that the way the word "elitist" had been used against Obama.

"As a white person, this term [elitist] the way that it is being used against you, it isn't far from uppity and I think the Clintons are getting away with something that they must be called on," the man said, adding that he thought the controversy would continue until someone told Clinton she was "close to prejudice here, this is wrong..."

The Illinois senator responded by blaming politics and the "silly season" for the controversy, but told the questioner he did not believe there were "racial overtones" to the recent attacks.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. Realistic

    Let's see, a 6-year director of Wal-Mart who was described by Sam Walton himself as "One of Us", who never worked a labor job in her life, who is worth more than $100 million, whose donors are predominantly "big donors" is considered "elitist" against a guy with a fraction of her money and who only recently paid down his college loans?

    It is silly season in politics again.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. B Welsh

    Hillary needs to step down now before she ruins the Democratic party. if seems that she doesn't care about anyone but herself. It's been said that she knows she's gonna lose so she want Obama to be unelectable so she can run in 2012 against McKean, but what she doesn't realize is that the American people won't forgive or forget all the dirty things she's done.

    Bitter in PA

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Meme

    He "Misspoke but he didn't lie""

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Ben

    The world will little note nor long remember what we say here.these words were said by Abe Lincoln
    The world will never note nor ever remember What we blogers say here. It is fun and shows how many idiots are out there

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Dem for Hillary

    Hey Michael I'm in Ohio too? Was Hillary here again? Your post makes no sense.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. black & proud

    Jack, as an AFRICAN AND NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN and i have noticed the hipocricy in americans and its government. They hate the thruth and thats why hillary is still in this race. that wealthy selfish hilliary who made $109 millions wouldn't know anything about being broke and being bitter. yet you have the ignorance of Bob Johnson trying to bring that man down.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. NickNas

    Obama we all know. It is just the Billionaires and people with Hundreds of Millions of Dollars who want us all to think you are one.
    Funny thing is IF they could read or use a search engine on the web they can find out your ENTIRE life’s story. Point is they do not or can't, BUT we are not that gullible and we can smell fear when it is around and BOY is it around THICK!
    That is what you get for talking for and to the PEOPLE and not for the Billionaires and special interests!
    Don’t back down from the Machine, no matter how hard they try. We are STILL waiting for the answers to the tough questions that Hillary owes us. It seems though that the powers that be don't want us to ever hear the answers they would rather focus on a single word slip-up instead.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Yacob

    The last thing this man should be called is "elitist"

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. mike

    Obama should continue to respond this way because, although his comments were on the extreme side, this does not entitle someone like Hillary Clinton to label him as an elitist. That is just another politcal ploy that we have grown to expect from her. But I think he should continue to call her on this . Anyone who reports
    109 million earnings and whose spouse takes 800 grand for his
    work on Coumbian Free Trade and then tries to convince the public that she is anti-NAFTA is in no position to cast stones. Unfortunately, that is all she knows how to do. Oh yeah and shoot ducks!

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Julia

    Hillary does not get it Obama. She has been living in a bubble for the past 25 years. I doubt she even realizes that we exist unless, it is time for elections.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |

    Your a FOOL Obama, along with all of the idiots supporting your apparent change.

    I will NEVER trust anybody with a name as close as yours to Osama bin Laden.

    I don't believe a word you say when you talk about change.

    And indeed – i still believe FIRMLY, that voting or supporting Obama, is like having forgotten 911!! I confirm that with Wright's atrocious comments

    Wake up you silly obama supporters!

    He is the devil in a blue dress!

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. RT

    Yeah Obama, a self-made, black man who has risen from poverty is an Elitist when Hillary Clinton (White Woman of Privilage, Ex-President's wife and multi-millionaire) and John McCain ( White Man of Privilige, multi-millionaire, son of 4-star Navy Admiral) are not Elitists? The media is just as guilty for trying to light a fire under this ridiculous notion as well.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. freddie

    I can't believe all this hoopla over someone speaking the truth. Of course, HRC does not seem to know what the truth is and things she can tell small town America how they should feel! Talk about elitist! I hope she keeps talking and talking about this...she is sinking faster and faster everyday. The debate will be very interesting tomorrow. She will come off like the out of touch shrew she is. It's unbelievable to me that anyone is still taking her seriously. Why is she helping McCain so much? I don't get it. She's lost it completely.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. jc

    These Clinton people make me want to throw up.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. Johnjones

    On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart made an interesting point about elitism. Essentially he noted that being in the "elite" was a good thing. Do we really want a President in the White House who isn't in the elite? Who isn't smarter, tougher or better educated than us? We've had a non-elite President for closing on eight years now. I think I'd prefer an elite one at this point.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. Concerned Voter

    Senator, your comments speak for themselves. You may not be the richest, but you are certainly not the poorest...even in your youth as the press would have it. Its not money that makes you elitist, it's what you are saying. It doesn't help that you are the most arrogant politician I have seen ever.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Barry

    Come on all of you Hillary supporters. Show us your credible by at least admitting this elitest crap coming from her is a big joke!

    Choose either a) takes one to know one or b) she is morphing into McCain.

    April 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Caly

    Hey Barb,

    this is an AMERICAN election.

    GO OBAMA 08

    April 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Ed in OH

    "Bittergate" = Hillary desperation.

    She is clinging to anything she can in this her political time of the end...

    On the bright side of all of this..she is burning all her bridges right now fighting to the "bitter" end thinking only of what's in her own best interest. After this year, thankfully, we will no longer see Billary trying to pull every last trick in the book out...


    April 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Joanne

    How was the party ? Wasn't that 4 years ago......................LOL

    Now, big HOUSE...Elite does not mean money it means selfish arrogant BS Just like OBAMA

    More is coming from the REZKO trial... Can't wait........Mr Johnson is right....if it weren't for being Black you would be way down in votes

    Hillary would have won...........to selfish decided to run however the roosters are coming home to roost...........

    April 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. jerral

    you hillary supporters would not know rezko from a mouse.
    so get over it and get on with your life
    what about hillaries preacher being in prisom for child molestion
    just go away

    April 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. lodigg

    My sentiments exactly! Obama an elitist–Who's tax return shows millionaire/elitist status, Omama's or Hillary's?

    April 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. Cynthia

    Senator Obama is to be applauded for running an ethical campaign and not getting in the sewage with the Clintons. He obviously had to answer back when the Clintons went to far in their accusations. I can't wait until this part of the election is over and he meets Senator McCain. Senator McCain will be confusing a whole lot more things than he is now and will definitely be showing what the press call his angry side.

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary is an elitist and has been socializing with elitist all her life until she's out of touch and cannot identify who is and who isn't. Maybe one day, if she does get in touch, she will be able to identify Obama as well as millions of Americans as the non-elitist. Vote Obama.

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Obama Spin Machine

    Obama is not an elitist? Wonder how he can afford the things he can. I wonder why noone questioned him on the REZKO trial yet? CNN buried the news even though it came out today. hiding these things would not help you Obama. You have to answer to the people of Pennsylvania what were doing in parties that were hosted by Rezko.
    stop with the BS. Be honest for once. No-one has seen the true colors of Obama.

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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